Pioneer Day
  Pathfinders-Pioneers of the American West

Have you ever wondered what you might experience if you journeyed westward with a group of travelers? What about a different year, say 1851! Well, get ready for an exciting journey west! Your class is going to break into groups to research information on the pioneers of the American West. Students will work together to create presentations, newsletters and a website to display your hard work, so be sure to contribute to your groups great work!


Some of the questions we will research together are:


  • What would your experience be like as you journeyed westward with a group of friends?


  • What type of hazards would you encounter on your journey west?


You will research this information on the websites listed below. Click through them and read some of the information provided before you begin your projects.

Happy traveling!


This is a great resource for information on your Pioneer Journey!


 This is a great site to begin your journey westward!


American West Website


Another great site made by students!


After reading through the information in the websites above, you should begin working on your group project. Your teacher should have pre-assigned your groups, so when you feel comfortable, go ahead and begin.


Group One: What would a journey west be like in 1851 America? Collect written descriptions from your journals, drawings, interviews with other travelers, and pictures to create a record of our journey in a PPT presentation.


Student Support Materials-print this handout (open the document, go to File, Print) and use it to plan your PowerPoint presentation.

Presentation Design-open this Word document and print it to use as a template for designing your presentation.

Scoring Guide-look over this scoring guide to know what I am expecting of you so that you will receive the best grade for your efforts.


Group Two: Record the type of hardships you encounter and how these hardships affect change in America; discuss how it will create change in our society.


Student Support Materials-print this handout (open the document, go to File, Print) and use this to plan the content of your Newsletter.

Scoring Guide-look over this scoring guide to see what you need to include to receive the best possible grade for the hard work you will be putting into this project.


Class Assignment: Students will look at the student newsletter and write an essay on how the hardships of the westward journey created change.



Group Three: Create a website, as a group, that will direct other students to resources to discover answers to various topics.

Students will use this template as a student support material to fill in information from the following websites that cover these topics-

 1-Choosing the best wagon for the journey west.

2-Packing our wagon so that we complete our journey west.

3-Figuring out how much money it will take to complete our journey.

4-Include types of food you will bring, ways to care for your animals, activities you might do for fun and how you might work to make money as you journeyed west.

Student Website-click Westward Travel Quiz to return to this page and receive your Quiz on the information contained in the web site.

Student Support Materials-this is a worksheet for planning the website

Student Support Materials-this is a template of the website for students to fill in

Scoring Guide-look over this scoring guide to get the best possible grade on this project!




Class Assignment: Students will look at the student website and use this as a resource to answer the following questions:

  • How would you choose and pack your wagon for the journey west?

  • Describe what it would be like to be a pioneer in early America?

  • How much would it cost for you to take this journey?

  • What would you eat as a pioneer?

  • How would you care for your animals so that they would survive your journey?

  • What type of job would you choose as a pioneer?

  • What type of activities would you do for fun?


Additional Lessons:

Language Arts: Students will read from a list of books on this website…click on “Books” for a list of titles and reviews by other students.  Write a critique of the book.


Visual Arts/Mathematics: Students will make a quilt, measuring and designing geometric shapes to complete.


A Great Pioneer Webquest-Westward Ho!


Teachers, for more detailed information, click here for a Unit Lesson.